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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

(2) BRINGING UP MOTHER

[Sunbonnet Babies is featured in Ernestine Cobern Beyer's Wikipedia biography.]
   
                                            
                                                               Sunbonnet Babies
                                                  
                                       One wears a bonnet of organdy rose
That hides her adorable bangs,
And one wears a bonnet that shadows her nose,
And one wears a bonnet that hangs.
The first wears a pinafore (not very white!)
The second, a dress that is tidy.
But the belle of the beach is the third little mite
With the slightly inadequate didy!


                                                                   The Little Knight

Reckless, intrepid, chubby and bright,
Into the world goes the Little Knight.
And though his armor a romper be,
Never a knight more bold than he.
Soon he is lost 'twixt earth and sky--
Lost in a forest two feet high.
Over the crest of grass and weed
His hair gleams bright as a milkweed seed.
On he goes with a dauntless shout.
("Take care, little knight!" my heart cries out),
For oh, the world is alluring and new
To a brave Adventurer, just turned two.

To My Granddaughter

Kathie's eyes are bright, alive,
Her manner, blithely charming,
And though her years are only five,
Her wisdom is disarming.

When she, at times, invades my room,
I leave this peaceful place;
Astride Imagination's broom,
I soar with her in space.
Within my own she lays her hand,
And with a compass true,
She guides me to that happy land
Which long ago I knew.

Contemporaries, she and I!
For though my hair is white,
When Kathie blithely passes by,
She leaves me young and bright!

Bringing Up Mother

My children don't purposely pain me.
They mean to be patient, I know,
As gently but firmly they train me
In the way that a mother should go.
They say my illusions are many;
They smile at the things I believe.
(My reasoning process (if any),
They laughingly label naive.
Do you think I resent them?  No, never.
I accept all the training they give,
For I hope to be modern and clever
By the time that I die--if I live!

To My Reflection

The little girl you used to be,
With young, expectant face,
Has left this sober, grown-up me
In her forsaken place.
She flew away sometime o'clock
I didn't see her go.
(She left her dreams and outgrown frock--
And that is how I know.)

The Antique Collector

My chambers haven't room in 'em
For objects of aluminum,
And as for things of chromium,
No dealer dares to show me 'em.
I'm partial to old pottery
And tables that are tottery.
The practical, the usable,
To me is inexcusable.

So when you come to see me, sir,
Pray show that you esteem me, sir,
By standing as I greet yourself;
Do not unwisely seat yourself.

My chairs whose rattles, myriad,
Bespeak their price and period,
Are worth their weight in platinum--
But no one ever sat in 'em!

Polly

When Polly composes a letter
To send, in my absence, to me,
She bites on her pen as she ponders
And hopefully looks in the ink.

Her limpid gaze frequently wanders.
I think her gray matter is pink.
Her meaning is seldom explicit;
The track of her message is blurred.

But often I'm tempted to kiss it--
The footprint of each little word.
For I picture her under the skylight,
On the stool by the hearth in the den,
Her hair very gold in the twilight . . .
Solemnly smoking her pen.

Her letters are puzzling--no matter!
I care not a ghost of a jot!
Illegible may be the patter,
But the Xs that follow are not!

Efficiency Expert

Avoiding closet, shelf and drawer,
Ted hangs his wardrobe on the floor.
Next, knowing he must make his bed,
He tidily draws up the spread,
Then, heedless of the humps beneath,
He exits, whistling through his teeth.

Distracted

My vacuum-cleaner, lusty with delight,
Dines weekly with voracious appetite.
His hungry roaring fills the air with flak,
As loudly he ingests a tasty tack.

This done, he licks his chops of greedy lead
And gulps the lint and dust beneath my bed.
I'd not begrudge him his unwholesome diet,
Did he not also wolf down peace and quiet!
"Nature abhors a vacuum," I sigh,
"When I'm composing poems, so do I."

A Desperate Ode to Snow

Bees and buds and birds inspire
Arpeggios on my lyric lyre;
But snow, so pure, so fair to see,
Strikes no responsive chord in me!
No!

My heart's a sentimental thing
That simply loves to think of spring,
But snow and slush just rust its string.
It doesn't give a single ping
For snow!

Yet if I sing of spring in winter
Surely I'd confuse the printer!
Thus my cheerful lyre begins
To sing of frost and biting winds . . .
O-o-oh!

Snow make a palace of a hovel
(While you struggle with the shovel!)
Snow gems the trees and crowns the hills --
And piles up heaps of heating bills!
Snow!

Snow flutters softly in the air.
Snow hides all scars (I've read somewhere).
Snow is beautiful though clammy --
I am going to Miami!
Ho!

Snow is something to be pleased at
(Though it's often simply sneezed at!)
I love the snow!  I do, forsooth!
Expect a lyre to tell the truth?
Snow!

 Rupert Revere and the Flashlight

A flashlight, my friend, was the cause of it all.
It belonged to one Rupert Revere --
That swaggering buster whose penchant for bluster
Was known in the town, far and near.

One night, with his flashlight held tight in his hand,
He was walking with Charlie Carew,
                              When his tongue started wagging with boasting and bragging,
As only old Rupert's could do.

"The beam of my flashlight is mightily strong,"
He remarked to his buddy with pride.
"I bet I could clamber its beamstalk of amber
Clear up to the moon, if I tried!"

I dare you to do it!" cried Charlie Carew;
"Sure, a powerful flashlight is that,
But I'm doubting, old timer, you're able to climb `er
As far as the top of my hat!"
       
 "Hold the flashlight, my friend," Rupert promptly replied.
Then (remarkable though this may seem),
Revere, very solemn, grasped firmly its column, 
And started to climb up the beam!
Yes, hand over hand, like a sailor he went,
Full of courage, ambition, and hope,
And quick as you please, with the greatest of ease,
He shinnied that shimmering rope.

No doubt he'd have reached either Venus or Mars,
Little knowing for sure which was which,
But Carew got excited and over-affrighted . . .
And foggily turned off the switch!

What happened to Rupert, the brassy, the bold?
Well, it wasn't a matter for mirth.
His coattails unraveled as downward he traveled,
Heading head-first for the earth!

His end might have been quite unpleasant, no doubt,
But a happy surprise was in store,
For he landed, ka-phoom, in his very own room
And awoke seeing stars on the floor.
Not one to give up was old Rupert Revere,
Although dazed by the bump on his head.
Still filled with ambition, he made it his mission
To clamber right back into bed.


                                                      Leo Harrington

Quartet

A clamor, dour and deadly
Alarms me from my snores:
A catastrophic medley
Of alley troubadours.
On fence and roof and treetop
They lend licentious tongues
To sing the boisterous beebop
Which lacerates their lungs.

Rousing half the city
With lyrics out of tune,
They sing their lovelorn ditty
Beneath a wincing moon.

The minstrels, gray and shabby,
Conclude their serenade,
Each summoning his tabby
With tonsils passion-frayed.
Then starkly silhouetted
Against dyspeptic day,
A fresco, lean and fretted,
Steals silently away.


How I Met Pat

The day that I borrowed her Buick from Myrt
I had some tough luck, but I didn't get hurt . . .
Though I might have got into a rather bad jam
If I'd not been the wonderful driver I am.

First of all:  Myrt's garage was a pretty tight fit,
And in backing, I bent the car's fender a bit.
Next, turning a corner a little mite wide,
I saw that my car was about to collide
With a far bigger car, so I slammed on the brake--
Which proves I'm resourceful and smart and awake.

The other car's driver, becoming unnerved,
Blew out a rear tire as he slithered and swerved.
But in spite of his adjectives, temper, and noise,
I straightened my hat with my usual poise;

Then loosing the brake, I continued ahead
Till I came to a light that was just turning red.
Thinking fast, I decided the best thing to do
Was to step on the pedal and hurry on through.
Well, that's when the fuss and excitement began!
I knocked a man down--oh, the best-looking man!
This was the morning's most scary mishap.
I didn't exactly run over the chap,
But I have to admit I so narrowly missed him,
It frightened the poise right out of my system.
So kneeling beside him, I--I--well, I kissed 'im!

A second went by, maybe six, maybe seven,
        Then, "Begorry!" he said, "Sure, I've gone straight to heaven!"
O, handsome and bold was his Irishman's face,
And his voice scattered shamrocks all over the place.

Since then, for I love him a very great deal,
When we go for a ride I let Pat take the wheel.
Not that I'm not a fine driver!  Not that!
   But: "You're better at kissin' than drivin'!" says Pat.

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